On the latest mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we were asked what adjustments the Kansas City Chiefs could make with the offense knowing that they will be without their top two tackles — Eric Fisher (Achilles) and Mitchell Schwartz (back) — for the Super Bowl.
Part of the answer to this question has to start with the health of Patrick Mahomes. Getting a two-week break should be significant for Mahomes’ turf toe injury. There is a chance his mobility is improved from the AFC title against the Bills on Sunday, when he overcame some issues moving to play a great game.
A little more movement ability in this game would be important for Mahomes. With the kind of pass rush the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have on their front (Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett) any tackle will be stressed. You will likely see a lot of chips from the running backs and even the tight ends to slow down the edge pressure. If Mahomes is close to himself, the Chiefs might just put the onus on him to navigate some pressure so they can run some of their normal downfield concepts. This is a game where deep dropping and scrambling early could be an asset if Mahomes is mobile enough to extend plays. The Chiefs can get a look at how the tackles will hold up early and make some decisions from there.
If mobility is going to be a concern or they find out that tackle issues are going to be a problem, there are many ways the Chiefs can solve it. Even though Mahomes might not move the same, moving the pocket on sprint-outs would be smart. The Chiefs used it this year regardless of who was at tackle.
Part of the strategy depends on how the Buccaneers play. The last time these two teams matched up, they were embarrassed by Mahomes and Tyreek Hill when they tried to press. They adjusted in the second half and played soft coverage to keep a lid on the vertical passing game. That is an advantage the Chiefs have despite the tackle issue — the quick, short-passing game would be open like what we saw in the second half against the Bills.
I would expect the Chiefs to get a feel for how Tampa will attack early and be prepared to attack them based on that. There is hope regardless of the tackle situation and good solutions to account for any issues up front. Execution and having the best player in the world are enough to win this game regardless of who is playing tackle.
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